New York Penal Law § 165.05: Unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree

If you use someone's car without that person's permission, you have committed the crime of unauthorized use of a vehicle. Under New York Penal Law § 165.06, you could be prosecuted for unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree if you:

  1. Take someone's vehicle without that person's permission, or
  2. Fail to return another person's vehicle when agreed.

Example

Dorinne frequently allowed her 21 year old son, Brad, to use her vehicle. Whenever he asked, she would toss him keys and instruct him to return the vehicle at a certain time with a full tank of gas. On one occasion when Brad asked Dorinne to use his car she agreed. However, she warned him that she had an important appointment at 6:00pm so that he had to return the car by 4:00pm.

Brad did not return the car by 4:00. In fact he did not return it the next day. He told Dorinne that he really needed it and would return it soon. Furious, Dorinne contacted the police. Brad probably could not be prosecuted for unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree as he only had the vehicle for a day longer than the agreement.

Related Offenses
  1. Grand larceny in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 155.30
  2. Unauthorized use of a vehicle in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 165.06
Defenses

An important defense to a charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree is that you did indeed have permission to use the vehicle. If, for example, you have an agreement that you can use a friend's vehicle whenever you need it, then you may have a valid defense to a charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle as long as you return it to the owner within a reasonable period of time.

Sentence

Because unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor if you are convicted you could be sent to county jail for up to one year, and you may be required to pay a fine. It is also possible for the judge to sentence you to a probation term of 3 years.

New York Penal Law § 165.05: Unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree

A person is guilty of unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree when:

  1. Knowing that he does not have the consent of the owner, he takes, operates, exercises control over, rides in or otherwise uses a vehicle. A person who engages in any such conduct without the consent of the owner is presumed to know that he does not have such consent; or
  2. Having custody of a vehicle pursuant to an agreement between himself or another and the owner thereof whereby he or another is to perform for compensation a specific service for the owner involving the maintenance, repair or use of such vehicle, he intentionally uses or operates the same, without the consent of the owner, for his own purposes in a manner constituting a gross deviation from the agreed purpose; or
  3. Having custody of a vehicle pursuant to an agreement with the owner thereof whereby such vehicle is to be returned to the owner at a specified time, he intentionally retains or withholds possession thereof, without the consent of the owner, for so lengthy a period beyond the specified time as to render such retention or possession a gross deviation from the agreement.For purposes of this § "a gross deviation from the agreement" shall consist of, but not be limited to, circumstances wherein a person who having had custody of a vehicle for a period of fifteen days or less pursuant to a written agreement retains possession of such vehicle forat least seven days beyond the period specified in the agreement and continues such possession for a period of more than two days after service or refusal of attempted service of a notice in person or by certified mail at an address indicated in the agreement stating (i) the date and time at which the vehicle was to have been returned under the agreement; (ii) that the owner does not consent to the continued withholding or retaining of such vehicle and demands its return; and that continued withholding or retaining of the vehicle may constitute a class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars or by a sentence to a term of imprisonment for a period of up to one year or by both such fine and imprisonment.
New York Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree Lawyer

Even though unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important to have experienced representation. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes such as unauthorized use of a vehicle, grand larceny, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment of property. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of vehicle theft in the following locations:

CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529)